Aubrey was diagnosed with fibrosarcoma when she was 20 months old. “My left leg was a little bit bigger than my right when I was born, and my mom asked for a biopsy and it came back that it was a tumor.” She did not have to undergo chemotherapy, but had to have her leg amputated. “And then a few months later, I relapsed, and it was in my chest and my lungs. I had a little bit of my lungs removed and I had chemotherapy for two years.” Today, she’s celebrating 20 years cancer-free.
Carrie was diagnosed with ALL, acute lymphocytic leukemia, in 1991, when she was four years old. “It’s one of the more common childhood cancers. Still, obviously, not a good thing. I was diagnosed a couple months after Aubrey had relapsed in her chest.”
When Aubrey was told that her best friend also had cancer, she was actually happy! “I couldn’t have been happier. I was like, ‘Yes! She can come to THON with me and, you know, she can come to the hospital and we can always be together.’ I did not think it was a bad thing.”
Carrie added, “Obviously, it’s so unfortunate that two kids in the same little preschool class had cancer, but it was such a good bond, I think, for our families, to have that support. And Aubrey’s family, having already been through it, so my family was able to rely on them so much. And we did.”
The best friends coordinated their clinic appointments, visited each other in the hospital, played together. “It was wonderful. Carrie said. “We had a blast. Sounds weird, but we made the best of it.”
Both Aubrey and Carrie have been cancer-free for years, but their experiences as children have helped shape their lives as adults. Carrie is currently a child life specialist at Penn State Children’s Hospital. And Aubrey is working on her masters in social work and is interning in the pediatric oncology unit at Penn State Children’s Hospital.Carrie added, “We went through cancer together. And it doesn’t define you, but it does, and it’s led me down this path, and it’s brought me my best friend, and I think we’re very lucky to have each other.”
Learn more about childhood cancers at the American Cancer Society website.